More Women Quit Jobs to Raise Kids in Pandemic

  • By Choi Eun-kyung

    June 07, 2023 08:49

    More women quit their jobs to look after their kids as childcare facilities closed in the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
    Every three years, the ministry tallies the number of employed women aged 25 to 54 who quit their jobs, and the latest study of 8,521 women was conducted from August to October last year.
    Some 42.6 percent of the woman said they took at least one career break, up 7.6 percentage points from 2019. The proportion had fallen from 57 percent in 2013 to 35 percent in 2019 but then rose again.
    A woman looks at banners at a labor union event in Seoul on June 1. /Newsis
    The main reason for taking a break from work was childcare. According to the study, 65.6 percent of women who quit their jobs after March of 2020 were in their 30s, and half of them said they suffered a childcare emergency.
    Oh Eun-jin at the Korea Women's Development Institute said, "The pandemic created unexpected problems with childcare and forced many women to quit their jobs and care for their kids."
    Another reason was a sharp drop in service industry jobs in lockdown. Some 53.9 percent of women who lost their job in the pandemic worked in service businesses like hair salons and restaurants.
    But when women take a break they find it difficult to return to work. It takes an estimated 8.9 years for women who quit their jobs to return to the workforce, and the new positions they manage to find pay lower wages and are less stable.
    The average monthly salary of women who return to the workforce stands at W2.14 million, down W394,000 compared to their last job before quitting (US$1=W1,304).
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